There are Two Sides to Every Divorce


date published

5th October 2016

written by

Emma Heptonstall Image

date published

5th October 2016

There are two sides to every divorce

There are two sides to every divorce. There’s your version of events, and there’s his. Very often, the ‘truth’ if there is such a thing, is somewhere in the middle. 

acceptance arrives when you know in your heart and soul that it’s over.

I encourage my clients to consider this: In relationships, each of you has your own point of view. Each of you is ‘right’ for you. Look for the evidence for your point of view, and you will find it, however small; however much you have to get out your magnifying glass or listen very carefully – you’ll notice it! Those ‘endearing qualities’ that your beloved had at the start of your relationship now drive you bonkers – yes, it can happens to anyone! But there are also two sides to your divorce. Recognising this at the start of the process will help you be better prepared. Forewarned is forearmed!

Ready vs not Ready

There’s nothing more frustrating than a spouse who isn’t ready for divorce when you are! It’ll drive you insane and you may want to tear your own hair out. But here’s the thing that you will do well to remember, and frequently remind yourself of; if divorce is your idea, it’s a decision that you’ve made, you have already been through what is often referred to as ‘the grief cycle‘.

The Grief Cycle

You will have already been unhappy in your relationship. Perhaps experienced the anger, frustration and upset that your marriage hasn’t worked. Worked through feeling sadness and loss and tried to reconnect with your husband. Now, however hard it has been, you have reached an acceptance that your marriage is over. That’s not to say, that occasionally you still oscillate between those feelings of anger and sadness and the temptation to give your husband another chance. But acceptance arrives when you know in your heart and soul that it’s over.

Dealing with a husband who hasn’t reached the stage acceptance yet can be challenging. He maybe still in shock. He may be angry or depressed or continually begging you to change your mind. You may feel guilty and responsible for him . You may doubt yourself. Emotional blackmail (sometimes conscious, and often unconscious), is a feature of your relationship. You feel stifled and oppressed. You wonder if it will ever end.

It’s important that you recognise what stage of the grief cycle your husband might be at. Knowing this allows you to work with it, not against it. Working against it out of frustration and or anger, is likely to do little to move your divorce forward. Equally, getting drawn in and becoming emotionally involved in your husband’s  struggles won’t help either.

Handling this situation requires both patience and balance. Firstly, you must remain true to you. Seek some support for yourself so that you can handle the situation. Remain consistent in your message to your husband. Ensure that you do not behave in such a way that he may receive mixed messages from you. Suggest if appropriate, that he seeks his own source of support separate from you.

There’s no need to cope alone

Often a Husband faced with the prospect of divorce, will pull out all the stops to get himself and his wife into relationship counselling. Remember that organisations such as Relate comment can be used as a venue to discuss the end of your relationship. You may find using the support of a Relate Counsellor helpful in supporting your husband to understand that your marriage is over.

Explore all the available avenues for supporting your husband to understand your point of view, but only if it is safe for you to do so, before filing a Divorce Petition. Filing a petition on unwilling and recipient may well be met with resistance. Resistance that will make communication, compromise and conciliation challenging and costly. What can you do to get your husband on-board?


Emotional vs Practical

Whether divorce is your idea or not, there are both emotional and practical aspects of the divorce process that need to be addressed. A common mistake that women make is thinking that because they have reached acceptance that their marriage is over, that they will sail through emotionally unscathed. You might be one of the lucky ones. It’s more likely however, that if you are complacent about the emotional impact of separation and divorce, it will blindside you and knock you for six.

The little things that can have a huge emotional impact

In my professional experience as a Divorce Coach, it’s the little things that cause the biggest emotional impact. Examples include: moving out of the marital bed to stay in the spare room, even when you have already found another place to live and the decision to leave has been made.  That bed, that room, that you shared with your husband, may have been where your children were conceived. It may contain as many happy memories as ones which make you sad. Surrendering of the house keys when you move out can also bring up huge unanticipated emotion. Never underestimate the impact of these acts as they represent years of intimacy and togetherness which are ending.

Perhaps you are the kind lady who doesn’t consider themselves to be “emotional”. You pride yourself on being able to put emotion to one side, to get done what needs to be done. You have your divorce ‘to do list’ and you’re working diligently through it. That’s great! Being busy can be very useful and keep you focused. And, allow yourself sometimes to work through any emotions that do surface rather than stuffing them down because you feel that you ‘don’t have time’ or that ‘you will deal with them later’. You see if you’re saying that to yourself it’s quite possible, that your’e denying or avoiding your emotions. Think about that.

Deal with your emotions as they arise

Denying or avoiding your emotions can be a recipe for disaster. Why? Because rather than being dealt with, they fester. They grow, become more intense and often explode in an angry outburst, or you silently seethe with passive aggression. Either way, rationality, common sense, the ability to communicate, and the desire to compromise goes out of the window. By acknowledging and processing your emotions as they happen, it allows you to move forward such that by the end of your divorce, you will be in a much better place, ready to move on to new chapter in your life.

Sometimes, your emotional response to your impending divorce is paralysing. Even the most basic practical tasks feel impossible. If this happens to you, know that it is very common. Even if you are ‘Mrs Practical,’ you might find that you struggle to deal with the copious amounts of paperwork involved in divorce and financial settlements. So take it steady, you don’t need to conquer. It’s important that you spend time gathering all the information that you need. It’s particularly important that you get a clear idea of your future income needs. This is not the time to be guessing or downplaying your financial needs. That’s not to say, that they will be met in full, but the clearer you are, the more likely it is at your needs will be met.

If you struggle with the practical aspects of your divorce, Seek support from your friends, a Divorce Coach or use a lawyer that you know you can trust. Remember also that family mediation  is a good place to get support with the practical considerations of the divorce process. You will get information on the requirements for financial disclosure and a list documents you need to obtain. The law will be explained though you won’t be given specific legal advice. Mediation may even be free for you. If you haven’t already, visit the Resolution website to find details of Resolution member lawyers and lawyer mediators. If you have followed to my blog for a while, you’ll know that I recommend Resolution because the lawyers signup to a code of conduct promoting non-confrontational divorce. It really is worth getting as much support as you need. Divorce takes time for most people, so be prepared!

I’m Emma The Divorce Alchemist. I support Ladies who Leave to make smart emotional and financial decisions on divorce. If you don’t have your copy yet, you can download The Smart Woman’s Divorce Guide by completing the box below. Please note, by signing up, you will receive a series of 7 emails over 28 days to accompany the Guide. You will also receive an email from me each Wednesday morning UK time with hints, tips and advice. I sometimes promote my coaching packages too – I’m sure you understand that this is my business :). You may unsubscribe at anytime.

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